Carmine’s Pizza honors the memory and recipes of Uncle Carmine, a good-natured pizza ingénue who hailed from Brooklyn. Today, Carmine’s nephew recounts his uncle’s passion for food, a dedication that remained until the night Carmine passed away while out making a delivery. On his way back from bringing his signature pizza and garlic knots to a customer stranded by the bad weather, Carmine's car was struck and he was killed. However his legacy lives on through his family and his namesake restaurant.
In the spirit of Uncle Carmine's time-honored pies, the chefs at Carmine's Pizzeria whip up the same hand-tossed pizza recipes as Carmine himself, layering golden crusts with bubbling mozzarella cheese and all manner of meat and veggie toppings. Amid the pizzeria’s exposed brick and red walls, tables hoist amply stuffed calzones, steaming subs filled with veal, italian sausage, and eggplant, and buttery garlic knots that double as Pavlovian conditioning tools for companions who can’t keep their elbows off the table.
The brick oven inside Francisco's Brick Pizza & Pita's bakes 18 different gourmet pizzas to a golden finish. The chefs first slather the crust with sauce—there are nine kinds available, including red, spicy chipotle, and creamy white garlic. Then, the pizza makers pick and choose from 22 toppings to create eclectic combinations such as an italian-sausage-and-peppers pie or a bacon-cheeseburger pizza with mozzarella, white cheddar, ground beef, red onions, and bacon. The chefs also stuff ingredients into calzones, pitas, and anyone who yawns.
Housemade dough flies through the air at Gilbert Pizza, as chefs hand-stretch crusts into thin or thick varieties. Bell peppers, artichoke hearts, pineapple, and nearly 20 more fixings can top build-your-own pies. Alternatively, nine types of specialty pizzas—such as a White Pizza topped with whole-milk ricotta—eliminate the burden of choice, like saying "eenie, meeny, miny, moe" to pick which child to love the best. Chefs also sate Italian cravings with bolognese pasta, veal parmigiana, and subs stuffed with sausage and peppers.
New York–Style Pizza | Daily Lunch Specials | Housemade Pasta Sauce | Italian Desserts
Where to Sit: Slip into a booth next to your favorite Hollywood star or starlet. The restaurant’s walls brim with black-and-white photos of the Rat Pack and other classic stars.
When to Go: Head in for lunch, as the restaurant runs different specials every day until 4 p.m.
Inside Tip: If you want a pizza with more than eight slices, simply request that the cooks double cut the slices or chop the whole thing into pocket-friendly squares.
Know Your Ingredients: Brothers Michael and Anthony Casanova put a lot of thought into their ingredients. That means deli meats from Boar’s Head, cheese from Grande Cheese Company, and a handful of other laudable brands.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: If you’re timing is right, head to Gilbert Art Walk (45 W Page Avenue) to listen to live music while shopping for local art. The event takes place place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every first and third Saturday October–March.
After: Ride the Allan Herschell antique carousel at Freestone Park (1045 E Juniper Road).
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Pizza, cocktails, and cannolis are the winning combination at Zappone’s Italian Bistro (1652 N Higley Road).
In order to craft a truly authentic New York–style pizza, NYPD Pizza holds that only New York water will do. All of its kitchens boast a custom filtration system that replicates the flavor and character of Big Apple tap water, said to give the city's pizza and bagel dough its trademark flavor. At NYPD Pizza, that meticulously made dough is hand-tossed and baked inside of a classic stone oven. Similar care is put into selecting the rest of the ingredients—the kitchen strives to use only fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes, and employs exclusive cheese blends from Wisconsin and California.
The menu sports more than 15 specialty pizzas, many of which are New York–themed, such as the signature Brooklyn Family topped with pepperoni, sausage, and fresh basil. Other standouts include a Veganizza with veggies, Daiya vegan cheese, and an optional gluten-free crust, and a Pizza Blanca white pie with olive oil and crushed garlic. Slices of pizza, bites of Italian sandwiches, and family-size helpings of pasta all pair well with sips of NYPD Uptown Amber Ale, a craft beer brewed exclusively for NYPD Pizza by The Phoenix Ale Brewery.
Though Terry "Joe" Black spent more than two decades in the restaurant and food industries, for many years the notion of opening his own pizzeria remained a wistful one. Smitten with the restaurant business during his college years, he spent the first 15 years of his career working for national chains, then another 10 in food distribution. It wasn?t until Black met and befriended Nick Heddings, owner of Arizona Pizza Company in Tucson, that the gears were set in motion to allow Black to make the leap to ownership, spurred in part by Heddings's support and pizza recipe. Black and his wife, Mary, kept the concept simple: a limited menu centered around tasty, New York?style pizza. They resolved to be fanatical about their customers? experience and to create a welcoming, neighborhood feel. To further that goal, Black and his family remain active with local schools and organizations to this day.
Their focus on quality and friendliness has paid off. Of Jimmy & Joe?s signature "Serious Slice," blogger Michele Laudig said?as part of the Phoenix New Times? 100 Favorite Dishes series in 2010?"It's super thin and crisp on the bottom, with puffy, chewy edges." Each gigantic slice is cut from the 24-inch Big Jimmy, arrives on its own metal pan, and, like a celebrity?s engagement ring, is bigger than the average person's head. As testament to its food?s deliciousness, the restaurant has won multiple awards, including the Reader Pick for Best Pizzeria in the East Valley Tribune's 2011 Best of East Valley.